Lecture 18 - The "Political-not-Metaphysical" Legacy

author: Ian Shapiro, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Aug. 19, 2014,   recorded: March 2011,   views: 1354
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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The mature Rawls departed quite a bit from his earlier theory of justice, choosing instead an overlapping consensus, or political, not metaphysical approach. Professor Shapiro argues that this is a significant departure from the Enlightenment tradition. In a wrap-up of the class's examination of the Enlightenment, Professor Shapiro charts its evolution from Locke to Bentham to Mill to Marx to contemporary theorists. As for the Enlightenment commitment to science and reason as the basis for politics, the early Enlightenment identified science with certainty, while the mature Enlightenment beginning with Mill emphasized the fallibility of science. But how rational are individuals after all? As for the second Enlightenment normative ideal of individual rights, the efforts to secularize the workmanship ideal after Locke were very problematic, culminating in the numerous and sound critiques of Marx and the intuitively disturbing radicalism of Rawls's moral arbitrariness. Professor Shapiro then introduces the backlash of the at-times unsatisfying consequences of the Enlightenment tradition, the anti-Enlightenment.

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